Are you baking for the holidays? I used to make lots of Christmas cookies for the holidays, but last year I did very little baking because my youngest son went on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet and I was overwhelmed by the thought of trying to recreate all his favorite treats gluten-free.
This year, our family is hosting an Open House Party on Christmas Eve so desserts are definitely going to be served (along with some healthier items ;)). As a mom of a child who has food allergies, I would jump over the moon if I could to make him feel normal during the holidays when everyone else is enjoying holiday treats. So, this year, I decided to change my approach. Instead of trying to recreate all my kids’ favorite holiday cookies and make them gluten-free, or driving myself crazy by making both regular cookies and gluten-free cookies, I decided to try using some of King Arthur’s gluten-free mixes to make my life easier.
I’ve used King Arthur Flour’s Cookie Mix before to make quick cookies for my son, but never tried it in anything else. What I love about King Arthur Flour’s website is that it provides test kitchen recipes using their products and they have a hotline where you can talk to real people in their test kitchen. I actually spent quite a bit of time on the phone with two of their recipe testers to find out which recipes could be made ahead of time, and got some suggestions on lots of gluten-free recipes to try out for our holiday party. They were so friendly and helpful.
These Gluten-Free Raspberry Almond Bars were one of the recipes that King Arthur Flour’s test kitchen experts highly recommended. I made a few modifications to make these bars dairy-free as well. They can be made ahead of time and frozen. I made a batch of these and they are in my freezer now waiting for the big day! These are a keeper – all my boys loved them, even the ones who are not gluten-free.
If you’re looking for more gluten-free cookie recipes, try King Arthur Flour’s gluten-free Dream Bars, Flourless Fudge Cookies and Chocolate Peppermint Snaps. I made both the Flourless Fudge Cookies and Dream Bars and my kids loved these as well.
I’m still experimenting with gluten-free holiday recipes so if you want to see what else I’m making, follow me on Facebook. I don’t always have time to post about everything I make, but I do take pictures with my phone and post them on my Facebook page.
Here are a few tips I learned from King Arthur Flour’s test kitchen experts about baking gluten-free cookies:
- Bar cookies like these Gluten-Free Raspberry Almond Bars freeze well
- Cookies and cakes made with egg whites (such as the Flourless Fudge Cookies or Almond Cloud Cookies) do not freeze well, but will keep for a few days
- When making gluten-free sugar cookies or similar cookies, it’s probably best to freeze the dough and bake the cookies fresh (you could also cut out the cookies and freeze them so you can bake them later); alternatively you can refrigerate the cookie dough for a few days before cutting out/baking
I’d love to hear your gluten-free holiday baking tips!
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.
- Place non-dairy butter and almond paste in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add almond extract and cookie mix; mix until dough is combined - it will be crumbly. Reserve 1½ cups of crumbs for streusel topping.
- Add egg to the remaining mix and blend until smooth. Spread the dough in an even layer in the bottom of your prepared pan. Use your fingers and a spoon to spread dough evenly in pan.
- Spread jam on top of dough (if jam is too thick, heat slightly in microwave first). Lightly mix almonds with reserved crumbs, and sprinkle evenly over jam. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if desired.
- Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven, cool for 30 minutes, then cut into small squares while still warm. Cool completely before serving.
Disclosure: King Arthur Flour sent me samples so I could try out some of their recipes. My kids truly loved these cookies as did friends that I shared them with.